Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Art Studio at the Cottage!!!!

We have been at our Cottage for the past week. François has been working away at the new studio. Over the first few days he completed the tongue and groove flooring and then began to build the walls for the Studio. He builds the walls out of 2 x 6 x 8 studs.  I got all the new vinyl windows of various sizes FREE on Craig's List 4 years ago. Each of the windows is new, in their original packaging. 
We are very fortunate in that our cottage neighbor, Bill, stopped by to consult about window placement in each wall. Bill heads up a Construction Program for the Carleton Place School System. He leads a team of students in the construction of cottages that are then moved off site after completion. We were so pleased to have his help!

Once the wall is constructed on the floor base, it has to be raised into position gradually. I helped François with this process. We screwed in supports to hold the wall in place, and the added blocks under the supports as he lifted it. I was quite worried about all of this, but we went slow, took are time, and it all worked beautifully.

This is nearly the final bracing of the wall before we set it into place. As it is lifted higher, the wall is lighter and easier to move. We had  brace at the opposite side to prevent the wall from falling off the floor.

Here the wall is in place, braced, and the base screwed into place awaiting the remaining walls to be constructed. This wall, facing the lake, will have three windows, one really large one, and two medium sized ones. I will have a built in workspace just below the two windows on the left of this wall.

Here you can see my husband François working on the second wall. He hopes to finish all the walls and have them in place by this Friday. I will continue to post photo updates in the coming weeks, as time allows.

 While François is working on the new studio, I have been on our cottage second floor (still yet to have the walls finished) working in my "studio corner" on various projects. Our golden retriever, Tobie, is constantly checking out the worktable to see if I have left any crumbs behind from my snacks!

 I am working on a series of small books. The images and texts are created from random rubber stamps loaned to me by by good friend here, Boni Jawarski. I am adding items to the surface of the page, including lace, ribbon, and feathers.

Each of the books will be bound in wooden covers. Each book is constructed of single folio signatures, hand sewn and adhered to the wooden book covers with waxed double twined linen thread. The theme for this series of books is "Believe" and is all about faith-hope-and love.

I am using trim pieces from our cottage paneling projects for the covers. I am blessed to have a wonderful set of Dremel tools which allow me to shape the edges and drill nice, neat holes to accept the binding threads. I learned about this binding process from an older issue of Bound and Lettered. You can click the link I have provided to learn about this wonderful publication available from John Neal Booksellers.

As I prepare to return to the cottage after doing our laundry here, cutting the grass, watering our plants, and other "home chores" that needed tending, I am reminded of all the years we had to drive 10-12 hours to get to our Lake House Cottage. I am thankful for the brief 1.5 hour trip I have ahead of me today to return to our piece of heaven on hearth. However, I am missing all our dear friends in Cambridge and our parish family there. With all the blessings we have received with this move, the pain of separation is still very fresh in my heart.

My creative verve continues to soar, and I thank God for all the grace and blessings that have been bestowed upon me. My cup runneth over!

All will be well, and all will be well, and with the grace, strength, love, and glory of God in her infinite wisdom, all will be well.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Shingles and Studio Time

It has been quite a while since I had time to make an entry here. It seems the month of June flew by. Towards the end of the month I was diagnosed with a nasty case of shingles and have been placed on bed-rest, so to speak, with plenty of medications including anti-viral and pain meds.  I am not going to detail what I have been going through with my own journey with shingles here. If you are interested in more information, here is a great blog about the journey of a shingles patient:

Let me just add one thought. If you are over 50, had chicken pox as a child, but have never had shingles, see your family doctor about getting the vaccine developed to prevent shingles. It is well worth the expense to avoid the pain.

During the month of June I was working in the studio making Anglican Prayer Beads.  Anglican Prayer Beads are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.


I have been involved in making sets of Anglican Prayer Beads for ten years now. If you are interested in more detailed instructions on how these beads are use in prayer, please see see The King of Peace website. 

Prior to coming down with shngles, I had set up my dremel tools and was preparing to make wooden book covers for some manuscript books I have designed. I use the dremel tools to drill holes in the spine and covers for binding the books. These projects will be on hold until I can be active in the studio again. It was wonderful to find all my dremel tool parts, including the workstation and router handle, when we unpacked some boxes in the garage.

During the month of June I continued to have my good friends Rhonda and Nora over to the house for lessons in Watercolour Drawing and Painting.  Since we arrived in Deep River I had several dreams about both of them painting watercolours and making greeting cards. Both claimed to have no artistic ability whatsoever, but finally agreed to come and have a few lessons. It has been great fun and I will miss them during my recovery time in the next few weeks.

As I am recovering from this nasty bout of shingles, it is very difficult to rest and not work in the studio, or the garden. However, I realize if I do not rest and follow doctors orders, I could end up with some serious and long term nerve damage and pain issues, so I am going to rest and catch up on my reading. I also have a pile of magazines to go through to cut out images for future collage work, so between the reading and magazines, I should be able to keep myself resting.

One very important thing this illness has brought to me is how thankful I am for my health and the ability to work in my studio. We take things for granted sometimes-like being able to run up and down stairs, or spend hours in one position making art. When that ability is taken from you for a short period of time, you begin to count your blessings during prayer with added intensity. I don't like being sedentary, either physically or intellectually, however, I do see God's wisdom in slowing me down for a bit. I need to pay more attention to my overall physical well being, getting better regular exercise, as well as rest, and my nutrition also needs a look in as well. Maintaining our physical bodies is important if we are going to nurture out spirit and creative verve as we age. This bout with shingles has brought all of this to the front of my thinking process, so to speak.

As I rest and reflect, and work on getting well, I will continue to sketch out more artist's book projects for the coming months. I will continue to share with you when I can my progress on both my recovery, and my studio work.

All will be well, and all will be well, and with the grace and wisdom of God, all will be well.